WASHINGTON — According to calculations released by the National Retail Federation, retail sales in October increased 0.4% over September on a seasonally adjusted basis and were up 5.6% year over year unadjusted. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.
“Today’s pickup in retail sales shows a healthy pace of spending and a sign of ongoing consumer strength, which is consistent with the state of the U.S. economy,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The figures bolster expectations for the major shopping period of the year, the holidays. Thanks to a high level of consumer confidence surrounding the current and future economy, we expect spending to maintain its strong momentum.”
“The pickup in October was also due in part to delayed spending associated with the hurricanes in early fall,” Kleinhenz added.
October sales were up 4.3% on a three-month moving average compared with the same period a year ago.
NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said overall October sales — including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — were up 0.8% seasonally adjusted from September and 4.6% above October 2017.
Specifics from key retail sectors during October include:
• Online and other nonstore sales were up 13.9% unadjusted year over year and up 0.4% seasonally adjusted from September.
• Food and beverage stores sales were up 3.7% unadjusted year over year and up 0.3% seasonally adjusted from September.
• Health and personal care stores sales were up 3.6% unadjusted year over year and unchanged from September.
• General merchandise stores sales were up 3.4% unadjusted year over year and up 0.5% seasonally adjusted from September.
The October figures come as retail continues a long-term pattern of increased sales. Total retail sales have grown year over year every month since November 2009, and retail sales as calculated by NRF — excluding automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants — have increased year over year in all but one month since the beginning of 2010.
One retailer that enjoyed a big October was Costco — its numbers beat analysts’ expectations and its e-commerce business continues to shine. The company reported net sales of $11.16 billion for the retail month of October, the four weeks ended November 4, an increase of 10.6% from $10.09 billion last year.